Composer John Adams' controversial The Death of Klinghoffer opened Monday night at New York's Metropolitan Opera to the sound of protest.
The opera was inspired by the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro ship and the killing of disabled Jewish American Leon Klinghoffer by members of the Palestinian Liberation Front,
The protesters attempted to disrupt the production by calling out slogans during the performance, but loud applause from the audience drowned out the voices, as it did scattered boos at the end of the first act.
The Met released a statement Monday that said the opera:
Deals with a difficult subject: the horrific murder of an innocent man during an act of terrorism committed in 1985. However, the fact that 'Klinghoffer' grapples with the complexities of an unconscionable real-life act of violence does not mean it
should not be performed.
Unofficial estimates put the crowd outside at 500 to 1,500 people. Scores of police officers were deployed and barricades ringed the pavilion, but unrest was largely limited to verbal volleys between patrons and a few breakaway protesters closer to the
Many of the speakers at the protest, organized by Jewish groups such as the Zionist Association. of America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, wore yellow stars, an appropriation of the mark Jews were forced to wear
in Nazi Germany, and called for future boycotts of the Met. Dozens of volunteers also sat in wheelchairs referencing Leon Klinghoffe.